By Nick Italiano
If you follow me on Instagram or TikTok you probaly know I have a backpack problem. Last I counted I have roughly 30 backpacks. This is not because I love backpack variety, but because I’ve been hunting for the perfect pack for many years now. I’ve found plenty of great packs that check a lot of boxes and a few that check most of the boxes, but I’ve never found one that checked all the boxes…until now!
The Hidden Woodsmen Day Ruck is a classically inspired modern pack that has all the bells and whistles! Let’s start with some specs. The pack is rated for 25 liter capacity and measures in at 17×10×7 inches. The exterior is tough 1000D water resistant material and the interior liners are 500D. The material is strong, but not stiff or overly rough. The straps are thick and padded nicely. The back panel has padded mesh for comfort, and this pack is comfortable! Weight distributes well and the bag feels lighter on your back then it actually is.
One of my biggest gripes with packs is organization, they either have none or way to much. In most packs you either get a true 25 liters witb absolutely no organization or 25 liters with 100 tiny useless pockets really hampering true capacity. The Day Ruck has four internal organization areas one mesh pocket, one back sleeve and two side sleeves. This configuration is optimal for the level of organization you typically need for day hiking or bushcraft and does not hamper the capacity at all. The interior sleeves are high visibility orange, making it easy to see and grab what you are looking for.
For additional organization possibilities the sides of the pack offer generous amounts of webbing where you can mount pouches but not so much that you feel “tacticool.” There is also webbing on top of the main flap and the bottom of the bag so you have additional mounting options for bed rolls and similar sized items. Underneath the main flap in the front of the pack is a sleeve for an ax, hatchet or similar sized tool. To me this is just brilliant and what initially drew me to the pack. I hate having to dig through my pack to find my hatchet and got sick of trying to figure out ways to rig it to my pack. Now my hatchet is easily accessible and secured at all times!
The buckles are plastic, which is to be expected in any modern pack, but they are high quality and I would expect them to take a great deal of abuse. All the webbing straps attach to the buckles move smoothly in the buckles, to be honest they are the best I have ever encountered on an piece of gear. There are two D-Rings on either side of of the top of the bag so you can attach things there as well. The only zipper on the pack is on the interior mesh pouch. This is very important to me because under heavy weight and harsh conditions zippers can fail making your pack useless.
I’m not going to go into great detail of my load out, but it is optimally sized for a day hiking pack, overnight, or even a weekend if you add some additional pouches. You can check out my current load out at the time I wrote this here. As with many day packs this is frameless, so how you pack it definitely plays into the over all structure of the bag.
Let’s talk a little about price now. Yes, this is an expensive bag. These start at $275 USD and if you want to add some cool guy velcro patch space that’s going to run you another $15. Is it worth it? 100% worth it! These are designed and made by hand right here in New England. The design is thoughtful, designed by an outdoorsman and bushcrafter for outdoors people and bushcrafters. The attention to the little details, the unbelievable stitching and reinforcements at stress points, and top quality materials make this a winner and it’s just not something you’ll find off an assembly line.
Overall if you are looking for a 100% American made day pack with some real bushcrafting chops this is probaly one of the best options currently available on the market. I can say with 100% confidence that after 20 years of trying 30+ packs, very few match the quality, and none have come close to matching the features and versatility as a bushcraft oriented day pack.